Monday, 30 July 2007

New 8b at Steall - Stolen

The air this morning was autumnal – cold, damp and fresh. Michael and I were headed to Steall for the last day of his visit. We were both wasted and happy with good links the previous day, so today was just a day for playing on new projects and doing some intervals. But we comented that it would be a good day for redpointing, if one had been going for it today.

I was going on a superb line right of Lame Beaver that I bolted two weeks ago. Lame Beaver is an E7 6b freed by Cubby in 1987. I remember seeing a cool picture of him on it in Fort William Nevisport when I started visiting the glen in 1997. That year I tried it myself, but it was above my level at the time. So it was interesting to come back and do it last week for the warm-up for the days climbing. Good to have a yardstick to measure ten years of strength and technique gain. By the way, such is the lack of keen climbers in the area right now; Lame Beaver, like many other trad routes I’ve repeated took two full days of hard graft to clean it up again properly. So while it’s clean please all you fit Scottish climbers come and get it done!

Anyway, the new sport route is unlike many a Scottish sport route, being long, exposed and with consistent difficult climbing that wears you down, rather than one brick hard move and then cruising. After my fuel up with Claire’s rather fine baking (gaining legendary status now, as it’s been responsible for over five routes of 8b+ and above!) I dragged my sore muscles into action and worked out the first section up to a quite amazing no hands back and foot rest in a bomb bay. Once in the bomb bay, I pondered that the night before I’d done a long link from here to the last hard move. Really I might as well just make this a redpoint and do the thing now?

A long series of undercuts later, I was clipping the belay at the lip of the overhangs, water pouring all over me from Steall’s permanent (but currently extra dribbly) drip fringe. So it was a good day for redpointing after all.

My I be so bold to suggest it’s the best 8b in Scotland? I’ll post up some photos soon as I get them.


  1. Nice one Dave.
    I went for a play down the Glen after work last night. As soon as I got to the Heather Hat the heavens opened. Typical. However Maisie Gun remained dry enough for a try. Getting there.
    I'll probably see you down that way one day soon.
    All the best,

  2. OMG!!!!!!!!!!!! u use an E7 as a warm-up!!!! i knew you were reli reli reli good but thts just rediculous!!!!!
    nice one tho keep up all the hard work u r an inspiration!!